Paul Manafort sentenced to 47 months in prison

1 year 6 months 3 weeks ago Thursday, March 07 2019 Mar 7, 2019 Thursday, March 07, 2019 7:56:00 PM CST March 07, 2019 in News
By: Katelyn Polantz, CNN
Credit: CNN

(CNN) - Paul Manafort was sentenced to 47 months in prison Thursday for convictions stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Manafort, 69, was facing up to 25 years in prison, a sentence that could have essentially kept him in jail for the rest of his life.

Even at just under four years, the sentence is the longest given yet to any defendant in the Mueller probe.

Manafort was convicted in the summer of 2018 for defrauding banks and the government, and failing to pay taxes on millions of dollars in income he earned from Ukrainian political consulting.

Before he was sentenced, he spoke briefly about how prayer and faith have helped get him through this time and asked Judge T.S. Ellis "to be compassionate."

"The last two years have been the most difficult years for my family and I," said Manafort, who was in a wheelchair wearing a green jumpsuit that read "ALEXANDRIA INMATE." "Humiliated and shamed would be a gross understatement."

Prosecutors argued that Manafort deserves between 19 and 25 years in prison as well as millions of dollars in fines and restitution for the crimes, for which a jury convicted him after a three-week trial in the summer of 2018. Manafort has shown little remorse, they say, and even lied under oath following a plea deal after the trial.

Prosecutor Greg Andres told Ellis that Manafort never gave meaningful help during his cooperation with the special counsel's office, despite spending 50 hours together.

"It wasn't information we didn't know," Andres said. "The reason he met for 50 hours was because he lied."

Ellis said he thought the sentencing recommendation was "excessive," adding that he believed Manafort "lived an otherwise blameless life," was a good friend and generous person to others.

But Ellis said he was disappointed that Manafort did not express remorse.

"I was surprised I did not hear you express regret for engaging in criminal conduct," Ellis said. "I hope you will reflect on that."

While the judge read the sentence, there was no visible reaction from Manafort or his wife, Kathleen, who was watching in the gallery. After the hearing ended, Manafort's eyes appeared bloodshot as he was wheeled out of the room.

Manafort will also have to pay restitution of at at least $6 million and it could go as high as $25 million, Ellis said. He also must pay a fine of $50,000 and he will serve three years of supervised release.

Manafort will receive a second sentence next week from a federal judge in Washington for the two crimes he pleaded guilty to in 2018: witness tampering and conspiracy related to his illegal Ukrainian lobbying and money laundering.

He will receive credit for the nine months he has been in jail before and since his trial. Manafort has been held at the Alexandria Detention Center in solitary confinement for his own safety.

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